WATCH ABOVE: As temperatures continue to climb, police are raising concerns about dogs being left in hot cars. York Regional Police have rescued seven dogs from hot cars this week alone. Marianne Dimain reports.
TORONTO — With scorching temperatures across the Greater Toronto Area police have been busy responding to calls of dogs trapped inside sweltering cars.
In York Region, police have rescued seven dogs this week alone, with the most recent coming Wednesday morning in Vaughan.
“We’ve had a couple cases where the dogs appeared to be in distress. We’ve been able to gain access to the car we haven’t had to break any windows yet this week,” said Const. Andy Pattenden of York Regional Police.
“Unacceptable — because the temperatures are just too high.”
On Tuesday a dog was also found in distress inside a hot car parked at Vaughan Mills mall.
It’s believed the animal was left unattended in the vehicle for up to half an hour.
The dog was found through the Vaughan Mills Pet Patrol program and quickly rescued, while the owner was fined close to $1,000.
“This year alone we’ve had approximately 30 incidents where we have encountered dogs in vehicles,” said Vaughan Mills GM Stephen Gascoine.
“Five where EMS was contacted.”
The Vaughan Mills Pet Patrol program takes effect when the mercury hits 30 C.
Security officers are positioned at each of the mall’s five parking entrances and ask drivers if any pets are in the vehicle that could potentially be left in the sun.
Since the program rolled out in 2012, the mall has found many animals in distress.
“You see them where they have the sweaty paws and panting and they’re jumping back and forth between the seat and they kind of look like they want to get out,” said head of Vaughan Mills security Jose Buruca.
According to Vaughan Animal Services, all it takes is a few minutes and animals left in hot cars could be in serious trouble. Even if the windows are cracked a few inches.
“Very quickly they’re panting because of dehydration, they lose that valuable fluid and they can go into an emergency situation in minutes,” said Susan Kelly of Vaughan Animal Services.
Pet owners could face hundreds of dollars in fines or even criminal charges if their animals are found unattended inside sweltering vehicles.